The impact of the Georgia State men’s basketball team making it to the third round of the NCAA tournament continues to reverberate.
Here are the four things that have changed since the Panthers defeated Baylor before losing to Xavier in Jacksonville:
Coach Ron Hunter has hinted that doors were opening to recruits that were normally closed. The first payoff occurred Wednesday night when Gainesville High’s D’Marcus Simonds became the first four-star recruit to commit to Georgia State out of high school in the past 10 years.
Not even R.J. Hunter, who now holds most of the school’s scoring records after three standout years on Decatur Street and is projected to be a first-round pick in the pending NBA draft, was a four-star recruit.
Simonds, a 6-foot-4 guard, had pledged to sign with Mississippi State before changing his mind.
Simonds is a member of the Class of 2016.
In the Class of 2016, three-star point guard Justin Moore also lists an interest in Georgia State, according to Scout.com.
Because the team’s Class of 2016 already seems stocked with shooting guards (Alabama’s Devin Mitchell has committed), and the team already has a few, combined with the team losing three big men (Markus Crider, Jaylen Brown and T.J. Shipes) after the 2015-16 season, look for Hunter and his staff to target a few big men with the last two scholarships for this year’s class.
Within a week of the final game, athletic director Charlie Cobb announced the athletics department and university were moving forward in building a new $1.5 million practice space for basketball and volleyball to share. It will be housed in the Aquatics Center next to the Sports Arena.
A practice court may not seem like that big of a deal, but having one is part of the facility race that is oddly important when recruiting.
“This is one investment we can quickly make to show a commitment to helping our basketball programs improve and improve the welfare of the student-athletes,” Cobb said at the time.
During the past month, Hunter has done more than 100 interviews. Members of the team have done more than 250. The year before, Hunter did an estimated 10 interviews.
That’s the exposure that winning a game in the tournament, falling off your chair while watching your son hit the game-winning shot, and then having an emotional moment after the next game when talking about coaching your son, will provide.